• Saturday, November 17, 2018

India: Flavors of Arabia hit Indian palate

Discussion in 'Arab Defence Forum' started by Saif al-Arab, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. Saif al-Arab

    Saif al-Arab BANNED

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    Flavors of Arabia hit Indian palate, Yemeni mandi a big hit
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    Hotels in metros have a selection of Arabic cuisines including lahem mandi on their menu. (Supplied)

    [​IMG]By Aftab Husain Kola

    Special to Al Arabiya English
    Friday, 21 September 2018

    Arabic food is turning out to be a hot trend in India these days due to obvious connection. GCC is home to around 7 million expatriate Indians. So their obsession with the Middle Eastern food comes as no surprise.

    Little wonder then that restaurants serving Arabian food have sprung up in various parts of India, particularly in states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

    And in some hotels, even the décor and ambience is arabesque. The Arab custom of sitting comfortably on the floor carpet and eating from the same large platter is also part of some of these restaurants.



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    The Arab custom of sitting comfortably on the floor carpet and eating from the same large platter is also part of some of these restaurants. (Supplied)

    Shewarma, the rotisserie chicken/mutton warp, has already made a rage in India. Select star hotels in metros have a collection of delights to choose from Arabic food on their menu for a long time but are often too expensive for a commoner.

    So, in the recent past, cashing in on the interest of people who love feasting on Arabic food, restaurants are rustling up Arabian delicacies in substantial numbers in places like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Calicut, Bangalore, among others.

    Hyderabad, which was once ruled by Muslims, leads in offering Arabic food to its residents and tourists. The historic city is also home to Hadhrami Arabs (from Yemen) whose culinary influences is distinctly visible.

    Hyderabad’s old city area is a foodie delight with a good number of restaurants rustling up Arabian delicacies. Barkas and Yerrakunta suburbs, a 20-minute drive south of Charminar looks like a mini-Arab locality with hotel signage in Arabic greeting the visitors.



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    In addition to the regulars like shewarma, falafel, grilled meats and machboos accompanied by khuboos and hummus, one can find Arabic salads like fattoush, tabbouleh and of course, mandi. (Supplied)

    There are many in the twin neighborhoods who trace their progeny to Hadramaut in Yemen, an Arab country. As one enters the locality, one is feasted with restaurant signs advertising mandi, a Yemeni rice dish cooked in a clay oven with lamb or chicken. Mandi has become an all-times favorite of such restaurants.

    Sabyasachi Roy Chaudhuri, a food explorer and blogger, writes: “One of the Yemeni preparations, a dish which has become popular in Hyderabad is their traditional mandi. The authentic mandi in Arab countries is prepared in a pot, which is put inside a specially dug pit in the ground. However, most restaurants serving mandi in Hyderabad now cook it in firewood inside a usual tandoor.”

    It is said that there are more than 30 restaurants that serve mandi along the six-km stretch that links Barkas to Shaheen Nagar along the Srisailam highway located in the southern part of Hyderabad. There are few select hotels also serving madhbi, which is meat and rice cooked directly on hot charcoals, which has a zesty smoked flavor.



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    The tastes of Arabia have also invaded a vegetarian food favored city like Chennai. (Supplied)

    Kerala’s aroma
    The aroma of Arabian food also waft across the state of Kerala, which is home to a major chunk of Gulf NRIs. Cities like Kochi, Calicut, Kannur, Thalassery, Thiruvananthapuram and other smaller towns have a fair amount of hotels serving Arabic cuisine or their versions.

    Kuzhimanthi Biryani, similar to mandi, is a big hit in Kochi. City’s newly opened Cabritoz Arabic restaurant, with an Arabic ambience makes you feel as though you have been transported to an Arab land.

    In addition to the regulars like shewarma, falafel, grilled meats and machboos accompanied by khuboosand hummus, one can find Arabic salads like fattoush, tabbouleh and of course, mandi.

    The seaside city of Calicut also has a fair share of restaurants that has on offer authentic Arabic food. Ambling down the Kozhikode beach and its environs one can find a number of fast food joints and restaurants offering authentic Arabian cuisine to their discerning customers.



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    Arabic food is also getting popular among the youth. (Supplied)

    One of the earliest restaurants serving Arabic food is the Al-Bake Arabic Restaurant on the city’s Mavoor Road. In the Malabar area (with Calicut as hub) of Kerala, mandi has replaced the traditional Malabar Biryani in many weddings and festive occasions. Though the menu is not the exact replica of the quintessential Arabic food, yet the taste is fairly close.

    Dammam-based Syed Jamal, who is a regular at such joints during his India visits, says Arabic food is light on the belly. “The sprinkling of powdered dark-red sumac which provide a pleasant lemony spice and tastes especially good on meats such as shish kebabs and on salads enlightens my senses. I am a great fan of mandi. Though the taste here is not very authentic but nevertheless is fairly good,” he says.

    Another traditional Arabic dish, kabsa, especially famous in Saudi Arabia, is also a favorite for many. Kabsa gets its flavor from a mixture of intense spices.



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    Kuzhimanthi biryani, similar to mandi, is a big hit in Kochi. (Supplied)

    Mandi rice and kabsa have conquered Bangalore’s taste buds with outlets selling these and other Arabic dishes in several pockets of the city. Mosque Road and its vicinity in Frazer town have a string of Arabic specialty restaurants.

    Says Shaad Hasan Damudi, owner of the famous Alibaba café and restaurant, Bangalore, said: “We serve popular rice dishes like kabsa, maqlooba and Egyptian koshari apart from Arabian grills, mezzeh and shewarma. Indians have developed a great taste for Arabia cuisine.”

    The tastes of Arabia have also invaded a vegetarian food favored city like Chennai. Mashawi, a restaurant with a presence in Anna Nagar East and Park Town, is known for ouzi, a traditional Arab dish.

    This traditional dish entails slow-cooked meat that comes with spiced steamed rice, boiled eggs and potatoes.

    Last Update: Friday, 21 September 2018 KSA 17:55 - GMT 14:55

    https://english.alarabiya.net/en/fe...its-Indian-palate-Yemeni-mandi-a-big-hit.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
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  2. Saif al-Arab

    Saif al-Arab BANNED

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  3. Kaniska

    Kaniska SENIOR MEMBER

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    What is the difference between Arabian food and Mediterrian food? Is it somewhat simillar or any distinct flavor exists for Arabian food...
     
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  4. LoveIcon

    LoveIcon ELITE MEMBER

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    Arabian cuisine is delicious but in Hindustan it will be carrying lynching risk or they have replaced meat with potatoes and okra etc?
     
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  5. Retired Troll

    Retired Troll ELITE MEMBER

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    Wrong idea
     
  6. khansaheeb

    khansaheeb SENIOR MEMBER

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    yeh not much difference both peeka and spiceless. Don't go by the looks, go by the taste.
     
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  7. Jugger

    Jugger SENIOR MEMBER

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    Freakin delicious.........!!!!!
     
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  8. Saif al-Arab

    Saif al-Arab BANNED

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    Over half of the Mediterranean coastline borders Arab countries. Saudi Arabia for instance is a basin country of the Mediterranean. From Northern Hijaz there is less than 100 km to the Eastern Mediterranean sea (most historical area of the Mediterranean). The Red Sea is an extension of both the Mediterranean and Arabian Sea.

    Anyway Arabs and our ancient ancestors have shaped Mediterranean cuisine tremendously. Most of the spices, plants etc. used reached Southern Europe from the Arab world. The Semitic Phoneticians (who were originally from Eastern Arabia before they migrated to modern-day coastal Levant as they also wrote themselves) pioneered wine, palm trees, oranges, lemon, numerous spices, vegetables and fruits.

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    Arab Contributions to Sicilian Cuisine


    https://www.arabamerica.com/sicilys-unique-contribution-italys-cuisine/

    The Edible Legacy That Arabs Left in Southern Italy

    From ingredients like hard durum wheat that led to the development of pasta to the use of nuts in sweets, the food of Puglia is what it is because of Arab influence.

    https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/nzkk3g/the-edible-legacy-that-arabs-left-in-southern-italy

    You can find that about Spanish, Portuguese, Maltese, Southern Italian, Greek, Cyprus etc. cuisine.

    However what makes it distinctive is the prevalent use of rice (although that is used in Spain as well for instance or Italy = risotto) and numerous spices and herbs. Due to the Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea trade, Arabs used to control the main trade routes in this trade and that is how spices originating from South East Asia, Arabia, Eastern Africa and South Asia reached Europe.

    (largest trade of the ancient world)

    On the other hand tomatoes and other products from "the new world" reached the Maghreb first before it reached the remaining Arab world.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_cuisine

    Arabian cuisine is also much more spicy/uses more aromas than your average Mediterranean cuisine. Probably also more meat. Similar number of seafood though (Arabia being the largest peninsula in the world so seafood is a big thing).

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    That is the short version.

    Also remember that agriculture originated in the modern-day Arab Near East (Levant, Northern Arabia and Iraq).

    I created a wonderful thread about this legacy and how Arabs contributed to agriculture, including during the Islamic era.

    https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/the-...-the-cradle-of-agriculture-arab-world.532184/
     
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  9. takeiteasy

    takeiteasy SENIOR MEMBER

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    Manthi (We locally call it Kuzhi manthi, custom tailored to suit local taste) is there for a decade or so in Kerala (Malabar area). Al-fahm and other items also.
     
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  10. GIANTsasquatch

    GIANTsasquatch SENIOR MEMBER

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    terrible..
     
  11. Saif al-Arab

    Saif al-Arab BANNED

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    That is interesting. I was surprised by this trend in India when I read the article.

    I was of course aware of the ancient trade ties and mutual influences in terms of cuisine, spices, herbs etc. but not that this many Arabian dishes were becoming such popular across India.

    What about sweets or Arabian coffee and tea? Is that less known?

    Blend? What are you talking about Arab-obsessed troll? Arabian cuisine uses arguably at least as many spices as Pakistani cuisine does and more herbs. You think that a region that controlled and was the center of the world's spice trade has a blend cuisine? The joke that they sell in the West is not real Arab cuisine and mostly not even prepared by Arabs.

    Shawarma, falafel, kebabs etc. is a tiny, tiny, tiny glimpse of Arab cuisine. It's street food that became very popular among local Europeans and the food prepared serves their taste buds.

    You are confusing Arabian cuisine (Moroccan as well) with Turkish or Iranian cuisine that barely uses any spices in comparison.

    Mediterranean cuisine is not blend either. It might not use many spices but it uses a lot of herbs on the other hand (as does Arabian).

    Food Culture and the Influence of Arab Cuisine In Bangalore
    By Akanksha Bose
    As Chicago based food historian Colleen Taylor Sen says, religion has a huge role to play in determining the way food enters and influences a particular nation. The continuity of basic elements of Indian food have been documented in scriptures as early as the Vedas, with the veneration of cows and the love of ghee as well the early plantation of items such as eggplant, millets, lentils and spices such as cardamom, turmeric and tamarind being used in dishes prepared through age old cooking techniques such as the smoking of hay over pits in the ground and the steaming of rose petals to extract flavor for sweets, there is a lot about Indian food culture that intrigues. India’s role in global food culture has been extremely significant, with it’s distribution of spices and especially items like eggplants which is eaten all over the regions of Central Asia, The Middle East and the Mediterranean.


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    The Silk Route (Image Source:Sikkim Silk Route)
    Silk Route And India’s Role

    The trading of spices and handlooms had been an old ongoing tradition, as India was known as the spice capital of the world before the British Invasion, the Silk Route was one of the major passage ways wherein traders would transport spices and handlooms from the eastern sectors to the western sectors, with India being one of the most popular in the spice business followed by Sri Lanka and Indonesia.The sites covered by the Silk route that ultimately connected China with the west, with various influences brought about in culture(on the basis of food) as well as religion, covered some important trade sites in India.These sites included Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharastra, Puducherry, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Looking at the diversity of regions covered by this trade route, spices from the far north as well as the prominent spice states of the south were transported to Europe.

    Bangalore and Food History

    Bangalore food has an extraordinary culinary heritage. With radical influences from the Chola and Chalukya dynasties, the Vijayanagara Empire, being the main governing empire in the city took more than architectural influences, it had a massive effect on food bringing in important additions such as mustard and ground nut taken from monoliths descending from temples created in the same era.

    The city was captured by British Empire in 1791 that led to the introduction of western eating habits as well as several aspects of British cuisine finding it’s place within elites, thereby giving a new shade to Vijayanagara’s food scene. But the influence of the Chalukya and Chola dynasties remained with imprints on modern Karnataka cuisine.

    Karnataka Cuisine and Bangalore

    Ragi and rice being the most important and staple grains, it is used in almost all the dominant dishes in South Karnataka, which includes Bangalore.Regular meals include rice and yogurt often with several additions to the same, including curry leaves, mustard seeds as well as a wistful amount of coconut, making it a common addition to a South Indian thali and equally refreshing to the palate.

    Formal vegetarian meals, often served on a banana leaf are meant to be served and consumed in a particular fashion. There are a few staple items that one would definitely find in such occasions, such as Payla, Kosambari, bajji, bonda and several others. The whole course is separated into two 3 sections, the appetisers which contain the above delicacies, the second course, which is a set of curries consumed with rice, with lentils and ghee as well as a variety of dals.The final course always ends with rice and curd.The dessert though is a rather prominent piece of jaggery.

    The non vegetarian alternatives consist of spicy meat(Pandi(pork) curry, mutton,chicken) with the special ingredient being kokum.

    Bangalore and Modern Cuisine

    Different types of cuisines have entered the scene after the IT sector made Bangalore, the “silicon valley” of India. Now, South Indian cuisine can be called the one of many in this city. With North Indian, Chinese and local food producers gaining market, the crowd of Bangalore is being introduced to what is a diaspora of choices.

    While Bangalore caters to all types of population, their tradition remains with these iconic vegetarian restaurants -

    1. MTR (Mavalli Tiffin Rooms)- Visiting this location, near Lalbagh doesn’t really seem much at the very first glance. But once entered, the benches on one side of the relatively small reception is filled to the brim with people, some holding attractive desserts in hand, while others wait patiently for their turn. When inquiring about who I could talk to, the manager first asked if I spoke Kannada, which brought about a bit of confusion on both the sides, pointing out the fact that MTR’s authenticity holds true right to its language. I couldn’t really get a proper statement as it was a Saturday and the manager said “It’s too much of a rush today, I cannot stand and speak, come on a weekday.” I still surveyed their seating area and asked around for customer insight, all of which were gloriously positive. Some said that MTR was “the place” to be for pure and unadulterated South Indian cuisine.

    2. Vidyarthi Bhavan-Getting in through the massive iron gates was a herculean task in this one, located on Gandhi Bazaar, amidst a massive flower market, Vidyarthi Bhavan has its own world charm and that is found in the stone framework with wooden seats. With waiters wearing a dhoti and carrying plates to tables, crisp dosas and filter coffees hitting my nose, this ode to South Indian cuisine is any foodie’s place to be.When talking to the manager, he too speaks exclusively in Kannada, thwarting my efforts to learn about this place’s glorious heritage.

    Both of these franchises are famous for their Masala Dose, Rava idli and Pongal.

    Muslim Cuisine and the Entrance of Middle Eastern Cuisine

    The Muslim cuisine in Bangalore is unique and brings about lots of influences from Mughlai, Hyderabadi or Nawabi cuisine with a Bangalorean twist.The majority of Muslim cuisine can be found on MM Road in Fraser Town as that area consists of accumulation of Muslim population. One of the sub branches of the famous restaurant Empire, known as Karama, is one of the busiest franchises in the area.Other than the latter, a collection of 5 and 6 Muslim restaurants, 3 to 4 Mughlai takeaways and 2 Arabian themed restaurants.

    Arabian Cuisine and Famous Outlets

    Arabian cuisine is slowly on the rise, with famous dishes like Shawarma and Pita fillers, with stuffing like chicken and beef found in small spread out shops, often vendors found in busy streets, selling handy Arabian dishes, enjoyed by various portions of Bangalore’s population. Most of their crowd consists of Arab students and Indians who have lived in the Middle East. While these franchises cater to mainly non vegetarian customers, there are limited vegetarian choices consisting of humus varieties and chick pea dishes.

    The Savoury Seashell

    One of the go to places for some good Arabian grub is The Savoury Seashell.Many of those coming from the Gulf region, as well as people of Arab descent find pleasure in their food and give their food, the authentic stamp.Non vegetarian lovers with a special knack for grilled and Tandoori dishes also find respite in this particular joint.

    Situated on the busy Mosque Road, the hub of Fraser Town famous for its annual Ramzan iftaar food festival, Savoury which set shop in 2002, has created quite a name and has entered the big leagues in the food market, creating quite a name in Arabian cuisine.Visiting the Bannerghatta Road branch, which gets extremely busy around 12pm and 4pm, the manager explains how Arabian cuisine has found its way into being one of Bangalore’s favourites.


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    The Savoury Sea Shell Restaurant on Mosque Road (Picture Credit:Akanksha Bose)
    The Interview

    When having a word with the manager, he spoke of the origin of Savoury and when it was extended to Bannerghatta road on 3rd March, 2011.

    When asked about the menu, he exclaimed that it was multi cuisine while Arabian was their speciality. “But why expand from exclusive Arabian cuisine?” he replies, “As we need to cater to a diverse audience, we have expanded our menu to North Indian and Tandoori”.

    When asked about the initial reactions of the customers when this franchise first opened, his reply “Customers living in extreme south don’t have to travel all the way to Frazer Town to enjoy our Arabian delicacies, we’ve gotten positive comments throughout, with customers happy that we’ve maintained our authenticity”.

    “What is the signature or defining dish of this establishment?” To which he answers, “Barbecue and grilled dishes go out the window, with the most sales.”

    “Where are your other branches, except Bangalore?” his reply “We have branches in Chennai and Emirates.The Emirates, being one of the dominant markets indulge in our classic Arabian cuisine.”

    The manager has worked for the GCC, and has been surrounded by Arabian and other Middle Eastern franchises. He has been working for Savoury, for the last 5 years. “Our rush hour goes from 12pm to 4pm in the afternoon and 8pm to 12pm at night.”

    Before ending this interview, I asked “What is the one dish you would like me to eat, before I leave, that would represent Savoury?” “Al-faham” he said.

    The Empire

    The first franchise stood at Shivaji Nagar in 1966, creating a new name in the Arabian cuisine market. Originating from yours truly, it extended its enterprise to a variety of locations.These are listed below-:

    1. Kamanahalli

    2. Koromangala

    3. Church Street

    4. Bannerghatta Road


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    The Empire on Bannerghatta Road (Picture Credit:Akanksha Bose)
    The Interview

    I met the manager of the Bannerghatta Road branch and requested to ask a few questions. Thankfully, he obliged.

    1. “What is your most popular branch?” to which he replied “The Koramangala branch gets the most customers.”
    2. “What are the busiest days of the week?” “Mainly the weekends. We are packed from 1pm to 5pm in the afternoon and 9pm to 1am at night. Though the dinner crowd has always been more.”

    3. “Do you serve completely Arabian cuisine?” to which he replied, “No, we don’t do authentic Arabian cuisine, but our sub branch Karama specialises in a completely Arabian spread. The Empire is more of a multi cuisine restaurant. We cater mainly to North Indians, some South Indian customers and mainly localites.”

    4. “Why is Karama, extensively Arabian?”, his reply “ As The Empire started out as an Arabian themed franchise, we understood that keeping it completely Arabian would lead to a lower target audience. So Karama, has been our new endeavour, with 2 franchises in Fraser Town and Koramangala, which caters to Arabian, Karachi, Pakistani and Punjabi customers.” Featuring all Arabian, this franchise is for foodies with delectable taste buds.

    5. “How do you compete on the value for money scenario?” We believe we maintain a middle range rate.Not too expensive, not too cheap.”

    6. “What are the defining dishes of both your Empire and Karama outlets?” His reply, “ If you’re going to Karama, you must have the Mandi Biryani, Karachi Biryani and our Paya.” And for Empire, “try our chicken kebabs and grilled chicken as well as Ghee rice”.

    7. “When is Empire, the busiest?”. “Our rush hour, is from 12pm to 4pm and 8pm to 1am, and you would have to book a table to find a place.”

    In conclusion,Arabian cuisine has spread to Bangalore and has been taken up by the Bangalore population and is creating a mixed culture that was brought in by the IT crowd. Bangalore, like it’s name continues to create a bang in culture.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
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  12. prashantazazel

    prashantazazel FULL MEMBER

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    My favourite Arabic dish is Kabsa rice (we get it with chicken, here .
    I have also tried mandi rice, plenty of shawarmas, and of course the humus, kubus, Lebanese platters and stuff like that..

    The list here has me craving for more!
     
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  13. takeiteasy

    takeiteasy SENIOR MEMBER

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    Arabian Tea (Kahwa) is common in many places in Kerala. I will show you the menu of an Arabian restaurant in Kochi:
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  14. Saif al-Arab

    Saif al-Arab BANNED

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    Kabsa. Great choice. Try the seafood version as well and my favorite (lamb).

    Do you guys have samosas as well?

    800.000 views.



    Or Murtabak?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murtabak



    Also try authentic Arabian coffee (coffee beans roasted on fire) with cardamom.;)

    Great stuff. Thanks for the share mate. Kerala and Arabia have had millennia old trade ties.
     
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  15. khansaheeb

    khansaheeb SENIOR MEMBER

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    Look here Mr Al-Arab, expressing an opinion that goes against your opinion does not mean I am a troll nor does it mean I am being critical/demeaning of any Arab culinary dishes, it is just my personal opinion based on my experience. I appreciate that you are being touchy and defensive , perhaps because of your inferiority complex or insecurity, but based on your wrong premise. I have had the pleasure of tasting food in a few Arab countries including Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Dubai, Riyadh, Syria, Turkey , Oman etc and found their food to be rather bland. I tried their tourist restaurants and then tried their local restaurants and found their food rather tasteless and bland, but this is only a subjective comparison based on my palate buds. I suppose nothing can compare to the spiced food flavours of North India. Like you I was taken by the looks of the food but the taste did not live up to the desire. No offense intended, other than don't forget the hungry Yemen Children while you gorge in your delicacies.
     
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